What natural therapy can lower your blood pressure, relieve a headache, strengthen your immune system, reduce stress and help you sleep – and all in a one-hour session? If you guessed massage, you’re right on target.
Massage can do these things and provide many more physical as well as mental benefits.
A typical massage session lasts between half an hour to an hour and has been clinically proven to do much more than relaxing tense muscles.
Massage is the systematic, scientific manipulation of body tissues with the hands to relieve pain and reduce swelling, relax muscles, and speed healing after strains and sprains.
Manipulations include light or hard stroking, compression (kneading, squeezing, and friction), and percussion (striking with the edges of the hands in rapid alternation).
In acupressure, a style of massage derived from China, pressure is exerted on Chinese acupuncture points for healing effects.
Massage has been shown to provide many benefits. Below are some of the physical as well as the psychological benefits brought to us by our friends at ZenSoft Philippines, a spa and salon software POS provider.
Physical Benefits of Massage
Massages have a strong effect on the body physically and physiologically, and you will be surprised at just how much even self-massage therapy can be of help to you. Some of these benefits include:
Relieves Pain, Stiffness, and Discomfort
A massage is a direct form of therapy which goes to exactly where the issues reside. By dealing with the problems directly and naturally, without the use of medication, the muscles are not only relieved but are brought back to the time before the issue arose.
Years of repetitive activity can lock the body into a routine which limits your range of motion. By performing a variety of massage techniques and stretches the muscles ‘wake up’ and begin to increase their range of motion.
See Also: Benefits of Percussive Massage Therapy
The circulatory system is intertwined with the muscles. Thus, restoring the proper function of the muscles opens the blood vessels and increases blood flow; a very important part of any well-functioning body.
Detoxifies Your Body System
Sometimes the body holds toxins in specific areas due to physical trauma and strain. By working these problem areas, the toxins are released back into the bloodstream where the body eliminates them.
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A well-functioning muscular and circulatory system free of physical tension indicates to the mind that things are going well.
When your body feels relaxed the brain receives signals that positive chemicals should be released, thus increasing the well-being of both body and mind.
There are around 11 major organ systems in human body and massage therapy, physiologically affects and nearly all of them.
Some of the main organ systems on which massage therapy has physiological effects are the muscular system, circulatory system, respiratory system, nervous system, digestive system, endocrine system and the urinary system.
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Psychological Benefits of Massage
As well as the physical effects on the body, massage can also be very helpful psychologically. Ways that you can psychologically benefit from massage include:
Anxiety is a physiological issue but the body often houses anxiety in its muscle structure.
By clearing the pathways and realigning the muscles your mind is told by your body that the physical cues which indicate anxiety has been removed. This cuts the vicious cycle of anxiety creating physical manifestations and those manifestations feeding back into the feeling of anxiety.
Recommended Reading: How to Deal with Anxiety
Enhance the Quality of Your Sleep
Many therapies promote relaxation which has a lasting effect on the client. Removing the deeply embedded stresses in your body allows for a more pleasant sleep as the tensions associated with daily life appear more manageable.
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Provide You With More Energy Overall
Many of our therapies attempt to tune into and manipulate the energy flow of the body. By opening blockages and promoting overall well-being we enhance the body’s natural production of energy.
Cortisol, another type of hormone, is released during massage.
This hormone is responsible for lowering the stress levels of the body. The body is more capable of healing itself when stress levels are low. It also lowers blood pressure, allows the body to breathe more properly and lessens feelings of anxiety.
A side benefit is that massage fulfills the body’s need for touch.
Regular massage improves emotional well-being by making the person feel nurtured. This lowers stress levels and feelings of anxiety.
The muscles in your body hold fatigue in your body for a multitude of reasons. By massaging the muscles, the body is told to reboot the proper function of those problematic areas.
Also as many of our therapies involve a holistic approach to healing the body and its energies, fatigue is reduced as because the whole body is activated to produce energy.
A relaxed body is essential for a relaxed mind.
By removing stress from the fascia and improving circulation the body can focus on the task at hand instead of being preoccupied with its internal and unconscious issues.
5 Signs Your Body Needs a Massage
Often considered a rare indulgence or a birthday treat, massages are actually one of the best ways to detox your body from stress and tension, and help restore your health.
You don’t have to be a professional athlete to need a massage, and since we’re only just now introducing the concept as a preventive and healing treatment for everyone, we tend to neglect some of the most common signs that your body is craving a massage.
1.) You Train on a Regular Basis
Physical activity is one of the best ways to keep our bodies healthy and happy, but it also puts our muscles, connective tissue and bones under a great deal of stress.
In addition to your regular stretches, mobility work and proper diet, massages actually alleviate exercise-induced pain, fatigue and soreness that can affect your performance and your daily productivity.
Sports massages by a licensed massage therapist also serves as a preventative measure against injury or stagnation, although it works best only when combined with proper training methods and gradual, monitored progress.
Sure, push your body to overcome your current limitations, but take excellent care of it in order to be able to remain physically active.
2.) Your Mobility Isn’t at its Best
Training or not, we all spend a great deal of our time sitting down, which puts ample stress on our joints, especially our hips, neck, shoulders, knees and spine.
While a single hour of continuous passivity won’t do you much harm, especially if you do your best to stay active throughout the day, a sedentary lifestyle can wreak havoc on your overall mobility.
This is where a deep-tissue massage steps in and saves the day! Every physical therapist can recognize a sedentary individual from miles away, and they will know how to find the right pressure spots to help your body release the collected tension and start moving with more freedom again.
Read More: Benefits of Workplace Massage Therapy
3.) Pregnancy Aches and Pains
Every future mom knows that her bundle of joy also represents a threat to her low back health and overall spinal well-being.
Carrying a front load constantly puts your body under a great deal of physical stress, so moms-to-be often suffer from chronic back pain, and they experience trouble sitting down or finding a comfortable position.
To minimize joint swelling typical for pregnancy, as well as other aches and pains that accompany this blissful time in your life, a stress-relieving pregnancy massage can help with all these and many other issues.
For the best results, make sure that your therapist is willing to come to your home for greater comfort, and you’ll likely sleep like a baby afterwards.
See Also: How to Stay Healthy During Pregnancy
4.) Lack of Sleep
A consistent sleeping routine means that you’re getting ample rest in the same time-frame every night, and that you’re not experiencing any of the symptoms of poor or lack of sleep.
Quality and quantity are equally important in this equation, but even just an hour shaved off your night can mean pounding headaches, mood swings, lack of focus and a compromised immune system.
A nice memory foam pillow will help you sleep, but a relaxing massage will help your body just as much!
Getting a relaxing massage every now and then promotes a healthy sleeping pattern, reduces anxiety, and works to your benefit as a preventative measure for many chronic illnesses that are otherwise linked to a lack of sleep, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure and the like.
A healthy diet combined with plenty of rest and an exercise routine can do wonders for your well-being, and an occasional massage can enable all of those segments of your life to work in harmony.
Learn More: Why Can’t I Sleep?
5.) Too Much Stress
Not all of us enjoy the luxury of working remotely from an exotic destination, in a blissful relationship and in pristine health. In fact, most of us deal with one form of daily stress or another, be it a messy love life, a stressful career or financial troubles – all of which can amount to chronic stress.
Make massages your stress-relieving strategy, a way to boost your endorphin production and help your body detox from accumulated worries and anxiety.
You can try to combine massages with regular meditation, aromatherapy and an activity that enables you to spend more time in nature – and no issue will be too daunting to handle!
Additional Information: Natural Remedies for Stress
Concluding Thoughts on Health Benefits of Massage Therapy
There is no denying the power of massage. Regardless of the adjectives we assign to it (luxury, rejuvenating, therapeutic) or the reasons we seek it out (a treat, stress relief, pain management) massage therapy can be a powerful ally in your healthcare regimen.
When utilized on a consistent and frequent basis the numerous benefits of massage therapy are a salve for one’s entire being.
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